PBO columnist Dave Selby's 60th monthly column on sale today in Feb issue

PBO monthly columnist Dave Selby celebrates five years as a contributor to Britain’s biggest selling boating magazine with a special review of all that’s happened since he first started sailing and some extended thanks to all those who have helped him and his infamous Jack Russel sidekick, Bart, on the way.

Download and listen to Dave Selby’s 60th PBO column as a podcast or buy the February issue of PBO on sale now. 

Dave has been a professional journalist all his working life including stints as a columnist on the Daily Telegraph and Evening Standard. Despite his love of boats, he specializes in classic cars and most of his writing is analysing sale prices for them.

But the moment he discovered sailing in around 2000 his interest in owning and driving cars simply waned.

‘Sailing is all consuming’, says Dave. ‘Back then I was living in East London and had never really explored the East Coast. Through sailing I discovered how beautiful it is – only 40 miles from London and a different world. I now live in Maldon, Essex, in a house overlooking the River Blackwater. So sailing has really changed my life.’

When you talk to Dave he seems incredibly grateful that he discovered sailing. ‘I got so lucky getting a Sailfish… if I hadn’t bought a boat with such a good association behind it I would probably be playing golf now. The Sailfish Association tells you everything you need to know, there’s even a modification manual. A Sailfish is a little bit like a Nissan Micra of the seas: you can get all the parts and it’s easy to run. Sailfish owners taught me how to sail just by letting me follow them and watch how they do it.’

Dave continues: ‘And I was so lucky to join Stone Sailing Club. It’s so good for an almost complete beginner to be looked after by a club, knowing people are watching out for you.’

His first forays onto the water were with the Cruising Association which opened up a whole world of crewing possibilities. In 2002 he crewed for other CA members on trips to Northern France, Belgium and Holland.

The furthest he’s been in his Sailfish is Woodbridge, 60 miles away, and the furthest in one hop was Brightlingsea to Levington. ‘It was about 35 miles, alone, up the coast, just epic,’ he says.

He mainly sticks around the Blackwater where, he says, ‘there’s a lifetime of discovery in all the nooks and crannies. I haven’t gone aground enough, yet, it makes me feel as if I’m not really trying.’

So, does Dave enjoy being a PBO columnist?

‘It’s a huge pleasure when people I’ve never met before come up to me to say hello. All the reaction has been warm and friendly.

‘I guess we’re all on the same wavelength. I used to read PBO before I bought my boat, and used the Copy Service lots to help me choose which one to buy.’ 

‘For inspiration, friendship, help and guidance, patience, wisdom, tolerance and understanding I would like to thank the following: Angie Needs, David Meacock, Honnor Samworth, Arthur Ransome, Martha, The Sailfish Association, Des Sleightholme, The Cam Sailing Club, Maurice Griffiths, Robert Louis Stevenson, Daniel Defoe, Peter Jackson, Donald Crowhurst, Nicholas Tomalin and Ron Hall, Keith and Pam Francis, Sir Francis Chichester and Gipsy Moth IV, The Cruising Association, Burton Robson, Vicky Sherwood, Julian Harrap, Ted Osborne, Jake, The RNLI, Joshua Slocum, Frank and Margaret Dye, Sir Robin Knox-Johnston and Suhaili, Stone Sailing Club, Peter Nash, Ellen MacArthur and Iduna, Sir Ernest Shackleton and The James Caird, Vance Broad, Maldon Little Ship Club, Graham Jenkins, Keith Dovkants, Crusher Goodrich, Jules and even Al, Adrian Riva, Maldon Yacht Club, The River Blackwater, Charlie Stock.

And for hating sailing but still loving me I’d like to thank Bart, the keenest fender humper on the East Coast.’